We know that clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene should be normal for everyone everywhere.
But, today, millions of people in Malawi have their access denied, simply because of who they are, how much money they have, or where they live. Lacking access to basic human rights stops people having an equal chance to be healthy, educated and financially secure.
World Water Day is a huge opportunity for us to harness the power and commitment of all our colleagues, partners and customers to come together and highlight this crisis, calling on Governments to put water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and Sustainable Goal 6 (SDG6) at the top of their agendas.
Thames Loves Malawi
Today, 1 in 3 people in Malawi lack clean water and more than half of the population still have nowhere decent to go to the toilet.
We know taps and toilets are relatively simple to install. The bigger challenge is changing how these services are planned, delivered and managed to make a lasting change.
Between us, we have the commitment, experience, resourcefulness and connections to change millions more lives – until everyone everywhere has what so many of us take for granted. Together we can do it.
Naomi Mwale, 25, fetching water from a new water kiosk in Chiteyeye, Kasungu, Malawi, February 2019.
Naomi, 25, is a mother of two children from Chiteyeye, a big community in the Kasungu District of Malawi. Life has changed for the community in Chiteyeye as a new water kiosk was constructed in the area, thanks to Thames Loves Malawi, and it has reduced the distance people have to travel in order to fetch water.
Naomi said: “When the taps are running, everyone is happy. Most women don’t have to walk long distances. It is such a relief to have water close by. Life becomes so good and enjoyable.
“I am thankful for this intervention. We no longer walk long distances every day and spend more time fetching water. Please do the same for others who desperately need similar help. There are a lot of people who still walk very long distances today fetching water.”
Zabeta Dzonzi, 69, Chiswe Village, Mponela, February, 2019.
Zabeta Dzonzi, usually stays alone in her small thatched house located on the outskirts of Chiswe village in Mponela. Having only one room in her house, she looks after some of her grandchildren when they visit her during school holidays. She also takes care permanently of three grandchildren whose parents have passed away.
Her community is haunted by lack of clean water. Every day is a struggle for the precious liquid, which is a vital ingredient in almost everything people do in that area. Shallow wells usually dry up within few months after the rainy season.
The nearest source of water is Kasangadzi river, which is a 20 minute walk away from the village.
Accessing the river is highly dangerous as the entry point at the river bank is very steep. This makes it difficult to carry a water bucket on the head.
Apart from supplying water to the surrounding communities, the river is also a source of life for a lot of animals such as cattle and dogs. The water itself has a lot of algae and other planktons that further contaminates the precious liquid.
Zabeta said: “I have been a resident here since 1978. My life has been full of struggles due to water problems. Supporting my family has never been easy. I had to work very hard trying to get my children educated. Unfortunately, due to financial constraints, most of them did not finish their school and ended up married and then moved out of this village.
“It pains me to see them uneducated just like me. It has been a cycle of poverty and anguish within our family. My wish is having an opportunity to work for the betterment of my grandchildren now. They deserve a better future. The only problem is that we spend most of our little resources trying to treat water. Diarrhea is a common disease in our family.
“Usually when we don’t have money to buy chlorine, we end up drinking dirty water that makes us sick. This results in us spending more time visiting the hospital. It is not healthy living like this.
“If we had clean water, am sure I would live the rest of my life happy. Happy not just for me, but to also see my grandchildren grow in a good environment. I don’t want them to experience the same challenges I have faced. They deserve a better life.”
The Thames Loves Malawi project seeks to increase sustainable access, use and management of improved water and sanitation services in the low income areas of Kasungu and Mponela.
The overall purpose of the project is to improve the WASH conditions in the respective districts by mobilising the communities to end open defecation by constructing household level toilets, providing water supply schemes as an incentive and through thorough health and hygiene campaigns for long-term sustainable behaviour changes.
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We are proud to support WaterAid’s mission to make clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene normal for everyone, everywhere within a generation. With your continued support, we can make it happen.